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Help needed to decide on WW2 Japanese Naval Kai Gunto sword

Article about: Hello all, I am looking to purchase my first Japanese sword and I'm looking for help in choosing between two WW2 Naval Kai Gunto swords which are both listed by online dealers. To my novice

  1. #1
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    Default Help needed to decide on WW2 Japanese Naval Kai Gunto sword

    Hello all,

    I am looking to purchase my first Japanese sword and I'm looking for help in choosing between two WW2 Naval Kai Gunto swords which are both listed by online dealers. To my novice eye they both appear to be similar and are both about $1600 USD. They both have a naval anchor stamp and appear to be stainless. My main questions are do they both appear to be genuine, are they worth the price asked and if so which appears to be the better sword? I am concerned that both scabbards only have single hangers, as all other Kai Gunto that I've seen have two hangers. Thanks for taking the time to read this. This is my first post so I appologise if I have posted this in the wrong place or the pics dont come out.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Help needed to decide on WW2 Japanese Naval Kai Gunto sword

    Looks good to me.
    Depends on price.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Help needed to decide on WW2 Japanese Naval Kai Gunto sword

    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    Swords of this configuration generate much discussion, both pro and con.

    I have never been comfortable with them as true representations of a Kai-gunto. They are often found with a mix of untempered stainless steel Navy blades (probably from the Toyokawa Naval Arsenal) in Army scabbards. I question the use of a Shin-gunto style kabuto-gane on the handle (tsuka) and the single Shin-gunto style ashi on the scabbard (saya).

    Are they late war? Post war assembled? I really don't know enough about them other than to suggest that for the asking price you can do better.

    I'm also going to suggest that you wait for Bob Coleman to comment with regards to these pieces. Some time ago I recall him addressing the issue of snapped off tangs and Korean war era assembly. I'm not going to try to repeat what he has said as I might do so incorrectly and he is available and knows far more than I do on the issue.

    Regards,
    Stu

  4. #4

    Default Re: Help needed to decide on WW2 Japanese Naval Kai Gunto sword

    i agree with stu's weight for more opinion i have seen people burned on these items before and once 1600 dollars is gone its gone !!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Help needed to decide on WW2 Japanese Naval Kai Gunto sword

    This photo shows some in the more accepted configuration and the type I'd recommend waiting for.

    Regards,
    Stu
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Help needed to decide on WW2 Japanese Naval Kai Gunto sword

    Thanks for all the responses. I guess I had already spotted the red flag with the saya but didn't notice the kabuto-gane. The thing that got me was the fact they both had the same set up but were from different sellers. I'll see what Bob has to say as both dealers are negotiable on price. The hardest part for me with this new hobby is that there is are no dealers around where I live so I have to try and find something online. If you have any links to reputable dealers, it would be much appreciated.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Help needed to decide on WW2 Japanese Naval Kai Gunto sword

    Hi Alex-
    Welcome to the Forum. The sword with the cut-off nakago is definitely a post war put together from surplus parts sold commerically by Japan Sword Company, who is still in business in Tokyo. The fittings are not plated but painted. The other sword with the painted assembly numbers on the tang is likely the same but possibly slightly older. The stainless blades are war time production. The total construction of the fittings is not in keeping with genuine kaigunto from the war period. I would save your money to buy a classic model. I can not off any dealer for not knowing this as I was only able to understand what these were after buying several of them over the years from Korean War era vets who bought them in Tokyo.
    BOB

    LIFE'S LOSERS NEVER LEARN FROM THE ERROR OF THEIR WAYS.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Help needed to decide on WW2 Japanese Naval Kai Gunto sword

    Many thanks Bob for your input. I will definately pass on these two items as I am looking for an authentic ww2 item. Im looking at spending around $1500USD for a display quality ww2 Japanese officer's sword. I would prefer a Kai Gunto but would also be happy with a Shin Gunto. There appears to be a lot of junk / overpriced items online and would love to hear anyone's opinions on good online dealers.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Help needed to decide on WW2 Japanese Naval Kai Gunto sword

    Best military swords and prices are usually found listed on the sale forum of sites such as this one. A nice Shin-gunto can be had for 1200-1500 USD. A Kai-gunto for 1500-2000.

    I do periodically assist other members buying swords but at the moment have three in line and seem to be going through a dry spell.

    I recommend buying and studying Dawson's updated reference book before acquiring any military sword. It's not only a great educational resource but a very interesting read. Here is a link to a thread on this site where I posted an image of the book.

    Late Stage Japanese NCO Shin-Gunto

    And here is a link to a reputable seller.

    www.satcho.com 薩長 日本刀本屋 Specialists in books on Japanese arms & armor.

    Look in the Reference sub section for a further description.

    Regards,
    Stu

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Help needed to decide on WW2 Japanese Naval Kai Gunto sword

    Thanks Stu, I'll look into that book.

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